Letter: Hershey replies

I wish to respond to Ms. Trauger’s column (Post Independent 3/20/19) with regards to the misguided proposed sales tax increase. 

Ms. Trauger called me out for my position against the tax, and even attacked the [guest column] written by our county assessor. She now claims there is no other way forward except a business-killing, income-damaging increase in our sales tax. I am not on council, but I can read a budget (and so can you at the city’s website). 

In 2019, Glenwood Springs has forecasted revenues of $65.5 million and operating expenditures of $55.7 million. The city is financially strong. We already have a street tax and a street improvement fund, and there is no budget crisis. Thus, there is no need to pass another tax. 

An extra few hundred dollars a year might not seem much to some, but the pain will be real for citizens and local business owners. 

The truth is we can fix our streets now if we refocus our priorities. There are many ways our council could save money and reallocate resources. Providing adequate streets is an essential function of city government, but many expenditures in the current budget don’t go to core functions. 

Ultimately, if the council is not willing to cut non-essential items in order to afford basic road repair, then this tax question is a referendum on the current over-spending habits of council. 

Contrary to the pro-tax claims there is money to repair our streets today. The new tax would be used by the city to bond approximately $16 million with a 10-year repayment totaling about $21 million. That means that this year, with $2 million a year out of the general fund, we can easily fund the same street repairs with bonds without raising taxes. 

I believe a tax increase must always be a last resort, and as we have not exhausted our other options we need to vote no on this tax question. I am the only candidate at large who opposes this ill-conceived tax. I have a plan to fix our streets without raising taxes. 

Tony Hershey

Glenwood Springs

(Editor’s note: Though we typically do not run letters from candidates during an election, we allowed an exception in this instance since Mr. Hershey was mentioned by name in an opinion column regarding his stance on the street tax issue.)

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